Fiat confirms 500 at Chrysler dealers in about 18 months, other new models to be U.S. specific products

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According to Richard Gadeselli, vice president of Fiat communications in Italy, the Fiat 500 will be sold in Chrysler dealerships in the United States in about a year and a half. The small, retro-minded front-wheel drive hatchback will reportedly be the only model in Fiat's current line that will make the jump to America without any major changes. It seems that the other six small or midsize vehicles that Chrysler plans to sell in the near future will be based on the chassis and running gear from the Italian automaker but will not share any sheetmetal with their Fiat siblings. As Gadeselli tells Automotive News:
"There is a misconception out there that Chrysler is going to build the Fiat Bravo, just stick a different badge on it. They will be Chrysler products. They will be specific to Chrysler. The vehicle architectures will be based on our stuff, and there will be some powertrains. The vehicles will be U.S. vehicles, designed for U.S. customers by a U.S. company."
Based on the above, we think it's safe to assume the Fiat 500 will easily beat the rest of the automakers products to America. In any case, we're looking forward to finally seeing the diminutive 500 do battle with the Mini Cooper and Smart Fortwo for the affections of small, sporty car aficionados on American roads about 18 months from now.

[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd]

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